A Photo Essay at
Yester World

Yesterland.com
Walt Disney World Then and Now
Future World at Epcot, Part 2

Last month, I published Part 1 of a two-part photo essay comparing Future World at Epcot in 1983 and 2011. Here’s the conclusion, with a look at The Land, Imagination, and Universe of Energy.

What about the other Future World pavilions? In January 1983, Horizons was still under construction; The Seas and Wonders of Life were years away.

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, April 22, 2011


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The Land, presented by Kraft Foods (1983)

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The Land, hidden behind trees (2011)

When The Land opened in 1982, the attractions were Listen to the Land, Symbiosis, and Kitchen Kaberet.

Kraft Foods sponsored The Land from 1982 to 1992. Nestlé USA stepped into that role from 1993 to 2009. During Nestlé’s major update to the pavilion (2004-2005), the landscaping in front of The Land changed from palms to a forest.

The Land no longer has a sponsor. The attractions are now Living with the Land, Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable, and Soarin’.

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Inside The Land, presented by Kraft Foods (1983)

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Inside The Land (2011)

The difference in the interior of The Land is dramatic. Which do you prefer?

  • Look at how the ceiling was originally painted.
  • With the removal of the fountain, there’s far more seating capacity for the food court.
  • Even the balloons on the ceiling have changed.
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Journey Into Imagination, presented by Kodak (1983)

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Imagination!, hidden behind trees (2011)

Journey Into Imagination, as both the pavilion and its main attraction were called, opened in 1982. The attractions were Journey Into Imagination, Magic Journeys in the Magic Eye Theater, and The Image Works. The sponsor was Kodak.

Now simply called Imagination!, the pavilion lost its longtime sponsor in 2010. The attractions are now Journey Into Imagination With Figment, Captain EO starring Michael Jackson, and ImageWorks.

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Imagination sculpture fountain and Mark IV Monorail (1983)

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Imagination sculpture fountain and Mark VI Monorail (2011)

The Journey Into Imagination pavilion originally had a rather spectacular abstract sculpture as part of its fountain. At some point, the complex structure was replaced by simple structure of triangles. Also, look for the General Motors pavilion in the background of both photos.

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Jumping fountains at Imagination (1983)

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Jumping fountains at Imagination (2011)

The jumping fountains at Imagination have delighted guests of all ages (and caused water damage to the cameras of unsuspecting guests) for more than 28 years.

  • Notice that the benches have disappeared.
  • Notice that the planters now contain rocks, not plants.
  • Which color scheme do you prefer?
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Universe of Energy, presented by Exxon (1983)

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Universe of Energy (2011)

The Universe of Energy pavilion houses a single attraction—a large-scale, 45-minute extravaganza. The exterior today looks much as it did 28 years ago, except for the sign. Even the colorful stripes in either side of the building have been restored to their original appearance.

As throughout Future World, the landscaping looks quite different. In the 1983 photo, the soil in planter is level with the planter wall, but there’s a now a will in the planter.

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Planter and sign at Universe of Energy, presented by Exxon (1983)

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Planter and sign at Universe of Energy (2011)

The original sponsor of the Universe of Energy was Exxon. After Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999, the sponsor became ExxonMobil. That lasted until 2004, when ExxonMobil exited from Epcot. The attraction now operates without a sponsor.

In 1996, the original, rather ernest attraction received a makeover to add humor and a more cohesive story starring Ellen DeGeneres. The result was Ellen’s Energy Adventure, which is still running today in the Universe of Energy pavilion.

 
If you missed Part 1 of this series (or you’d like to take another look), here it is:

 

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© 2011 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated July 22, 2011.

Photographs of Future World at EPCOT Center in 1983: Werner Weiss and Dennis Derr, January 1983.
Photographs of Future World at Epcot in 2011: Werner Weiss, February 2011.